New Director for Beacon of Hope

Rayshun Holt on the assembly floor at Nehemiah Manufacturing

Cincinnati Works is excited to announce the hiring of Rayshun Holt as Program Director of Beacon of Hope, a unique initiative that encourages and assists local employers in hiring job-seekers who have criminal records.

Holt is a Cincinnati Works Member whose professional experience includes street outreach with our Phoenix Program and supervisory and management experience with Nehemiah Manufacturing, a nationally recognized leader in “second-chance hiring” and the organization that founded Beacon of Hope. His personal experience includes overcoming a challenging job search following a period of incarceration.

That combination of personal and professional experiences, along with his ability to connect to individuals from the factory floor to the C-suite, gives Holt a unique perspective on how local companies can hire, train and retain employees with criminal records.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to help pave a smoother path for those who want to get to work and change the trajectory of their lives,” Holt said. “Through my time at Nehemiah, I saw the social impact a business can have. When a citizen is restored, it is a win for everyone.”

Beacon of Hope is a collaboration between local employers and human services agencies to reduce barriers to employment for people with a criminal record, particularly a felony conviction or period of incarceration. More than 80 companies participate in the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance. As Program Director, Holt will manage strategy and operations for Beacon of Hope, while publicly advocating for the benefits of second-chance hiring and participation in the Business Alliance.

Rayshun Holt with Peggy Zink, President & CEO of Cincinnati Works, and Dave Phillips, co-founder of Cincinnati Works

“Rayshun is the perfect leader to drive Beacon of Hope forward,” said Matt Mooney, Vice President of Workforce Connection at Cincinnati Works. “We want second-chance hiring to accelerate the recovery of both businesses and individuals in our region, helping put Cincinnati back to work. In the longer term, we believe the Beacon of Hope ecosystem can be a model for communities around the country to realize the same benefits.”

About Beacon of Hope: Founded in 2015 by Nehemiah Manufacturing, Beacon of Hope is a collaboration of employers and human service agencies who are committed to reducing barriers to employment for job-seekers with a criminal record. More than 80 companies participate in the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, and more than 400 individuals have been hired. Cincinnati Works assumed operations of Beacon of Hope in August 2019.